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New TV soaps put creativity on backburner

vijay Admin Group

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Joined: 09 December 2003
Posts: 7192

Posted: 04 February 2007 at 1:25am | IP Logged

Latest TV soaps put creativity, originality on back burner

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Mills & Boon and Cinderella-type romances, intrigues within large joint families and infidelity are the dominant themes of television soaps today, giving the go by to originality and creativity which were the hallmarks of earlier riveting dramas like 'Hasratein', 'Saans' and 'Sailaab'.

Now, one gets to see repetitive and socially regressive serials like 'Sinndoor Tere Naam Ka', 'Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii' and 'Kajjal', to name just a few with similar threads being beamed on every channel. All have lavish sets, garish costumes, loud make-up and family intrigues, which though they keep the audience - mostly women - glued to the idiot box, are far removed from reality.

The popularity of this new wave has made it difficult for creative directors to showcase their talent with anything new and innovative.

'The intelligent class consists of only two percent of the total viewership. The rest of the 98 percent is digging into the soaps, which we term as regressive. And if you tell the audience that their favourite serial is regressive, chances are they will get into a heated argument with you,' said Ajay Sinha, the talented director of 'Hasratein' and 'Astitva'.

'After making 'Astitva' I was out of job for eight months? I was sitting at home doing nothing, can you imagine? Those eight months were like a punishment for making a serial like 'Astitva',' said Sinha.

Sinha is one of the older players of the golden era of TV and churned serials, which were widely watched, including 'Samay'.

'When I was out of work, my assistants were forced to look for other options. They approached other producers for work and the first question my assistants were asked was, 'Will you be able to make trendy serials after being associated with something like 'Astitva'?'' Sinha added. The serial was about an older woman falling in love with a younger man.

Prior to the arrival of the TRP ratings system, the television industry kept its moorings with morality through dramas which were closely linked to reality.

A decade ago, there weren't too many players in the market, but there was a satisfactory balance between artistic endeavour and commercial success.

In fact, with the arrival of satellite TV, big players like Zee and Sony maintained their quality in terms of content with widely appreciated shows like -- 'Tara', 'Hasratein, 'Tanha', 'Banegi Apni Baat', 'Thoda Hai Todhe ki zaroorat Hai'.

But with the arrival of Ekta Kapoor and her saas-bahu formula, the storylines changed dramatically. Her serials seemed to have hit the bull's eye as far as popularity is concerned. She revolutionised the TV medium with 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi', 'Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii', 'Kasautii Zindagi Kay' -- family soaps spinning around one female protagonist, and which continue till date with their never-ending stories spanning generations. Her serials are real money-spinners and top on the TRP ratings.

Ironically, others in the business too started toeing the same line in order to keep abreast. Zee's 'Sinndoor Tere Naam Ka', 'Ghar Ki Laxmi Betiyaan', 'Saat Phere', 'Mamta' and 'Banoo Mein Teri Dulhan' are few examples.

'The whole trend has changed over a period of time. Saas-bahu sagas have survived. People are watching them. I feel it's a personal choice - like our preference for reading a certain kind of book. I cannot deny that there is certainly a segment that find these serials regressive.'

When the saas-bhau sagas started declining in ratings, Ekta rolled out new recipes - Cinderella stories interspersed with Mills & Boon romance - 'Kahiin To Hoga', 'Kyaa Hoga Nimmo Ka', 'Karam Apna Apna', 'Kasamh Se' are the best examples of the new trend, which are now being duplicated in other channels too.

And these serials run for years.

However, if the female protagonist is removed, the serial will fall flat as the women are the life-lines of the serials.

'I understand the changing times. Once upon a time I used to rule television but today there is no place for me. Its like a catering business - I have to give what the customer demands. If I try to give him something new, he will get angry,' said Ravi Rai, the maker of 'Sparsh'.

'Secondly, lots of money is involved. Once you get heavily paid, you don't want to break the popularity trend because you are responsible for the serial's downfall. And you don't want to change the winning formula,' said Rai.

Rai has some of the best dramas to his credit -- 'Sailaab', 'Teacher' and Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai' to name a few.

'There are always two kinds of people - first the general masses who love to follow the same path, and the other who carve new paths for themselves. If you try to show the first category something new, they get irritated because they cannot relate to it. That's why most of the serials use the same formula so that viewers don't have problems in identifying with them,' said Sinha.

The shift from the occasional dose of drama to a regular supply of serials is certainly having its implication. Today TV soaps have become a part of the rhythm of everyday life for many people.

But, despite the deluge of serials, people end up craving for old ones like 'Gul Gulshan Gulfam', 'Fauji', 'Circus', 'Nukkad', 'Farmaan', 'Flop Show', 'Jeevan Rekha', 'Mungeri Lala Ke Haseen Sapne', 'Malguid Days', 'Talaash', 'Udaan', 'Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi', 'Karamchand', 'Khandan', 'Tamas', 'Dard' 'Saans' and 'Dard'. Most were based on every-day life. In fact, 'Junoon', 'Shanti, 'Swaabhiman', which were considered ahead of their time, were not as bad and regressive as the current ones.

Television is one of the best sources of entertainment but it is destroying the psyche of common people by resorting to unrealistic stories and advocating oppressive views. It is sad considering the immense scope there is in creating interesting stories around burning issues like legal, medical and social ones.

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service


Edited by vijay - 04 February 2007 at 1:28am

The following 27 member(s) liked the above post:

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...M... IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 20 October 2006
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Posted: 04 February 2007 at 1:44am | IP Logged

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Sand Senior Member

Joined: 13 February 2005
Posts: 250

Posted: 04 February 2007 at 1:54am | IP Logged
As harsh as it may sound, but to me Indian Soaps are nothing but repeated and recycled nonsense! I recently started watching Taiwanese & Korean soaps and if you compare the caliber between their soaps & ours, you would be left in utter awe of the storylines that those two countries' soaps showcase. True that they adapt sometimes from Japanese Manga stories but still, the amount of creativity & uniqueness that their stories have is absolutely mindblowing! They never drag their stories. In fact, at the most, they have 30 episodes with average being about 15-20 episodes. And trust me, each episode is so addicting that they'll leave you wanting more. How I wish I could say that about Ghasi-Phiti-Saas-Bahu-Indian-Soaps Ermm
datspreets Goldie

I-F Crazy Creatives
Joined: 10 April 2005
Posts: 1741

Posted: 04 February 2007 at 2:35am | IP Logged
^ Have to agree with Sand. They keep thorowing the same old junk with a twist, and we the 'fool's watch these soaps, and get addicted to them!

Till we don't shun then, how will Television shows improve? There are many scripts, be it for movies/serials which never get screen space, why- beacuse they're orginial? or they talk about reality? I think it's time we give our hidden talents a chance at scripting soaps, who knows we'll be spared of all the melodrama and get 'good entertainment' for once!

Viewers Revolt!
Naina_Manam IF-Dazzler

Joined: 06 September 2005
Posts: 2926

Posted: 04 February 2007 at 2:58am | IP Logged
I'd have to totally agree with Sands di!

Today, the daily soaps have the cliched themes - either they are saas bahu soaps, or about an ideal wife or daughter-in-law, which is fine as far as this is not the dominant theme.

It's done with showing larger than life images and then asking the viewers especially like me to believe them and appreciate them.

I loved to watch indian soaps still do but I have a suggestion, it might really do good to the directors to end the story when it was orgiinally planned instead of stretching it so far until the rubber band breaks.

We want something different.  I personally think Choodiyan was a good soap too considering something was original.  Ladki Anjaani si and Aesa Des hai mera also had different startings and themes but they also turned into typical Indian soaps with all the dumb things.

I think it's time to go for something orginal.  Create something original... I think writers these days need to counsel with the creative writers of IF! And that is a  serious comment!
vijay Admin Group

Site Admin
Joined: 09 December 2003
Posts: 7192

Posted: 04 February 2007 at 3:04am | IP Logged
I dont think the viewers are that stupid but the problem is that they do not have a choice. In most household after the whole days work the ladies of the house have to sit and watch TV.

Nothing better to do and nothing better to watch so TRPs will always be there and it doesnt matter what the story line is till the shows have ladies who are "Tip-Top" dressed (even in kitchen) so that they know what to look for when they go for shopping next time. Big smile

Today there are very few shows like Ba Bahu Aur Baby, Ek Chaabi Hai Pados Main which has still not fallen to those stupid, repetitive, ghisa-pita story lines yet and which is not regressive.

I think they should look at some of the Fan-Fictions written by our members and get inspired. LOL

buttercup IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 11 September 2005
Posts: 36938

Posted: 04 February 2007 at 3:06am | IP Logged
Lack of creativity!!! no matter wht channel it is, scenes are so similar to one soap to another!.. and exactly same thing is brought into all soaps, everything is started soo hugely in a different way but somewhere in the middle its like you watch one serial and u have the idea of all other shows on air!!
buttercup IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 11 September 2005
Posts: 36938

Posted: 04 February 2007 at 3:07am | IP Logged
Yah its not tht we are stupid LOL LOL .. but we dont have any choice!! to kill time we need to put onto some channel!! LOL LOL

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